Snow Leopard WiFi
Something's very, very wrong. Command-line programs like ping and curl work
fine. Safari, Camino, Firefox routinely think they have no internet connection
and give up trying. Some things that help:
- Flushing the DNS cache (fixes problem for one web page fetch)
- Restarting WiFi, or creating a new "location" in system preferences
(an oft-quoted solution to this problem on the forums) -- fixes problem for
nearly a minute
- Restarting computer (which, incidentally, is an insanely fast 10 seconds) --
fixes problem for about a minute.
This is on a late 2008 model MacBook connecting to a NetGear router. Things
I've yet to try:
- Put the kernel in 64-bit mode
- Try another router (I have an old Apple one)
- Downgrade to Leopard (clean install I imagine -- shudder).
type (hooray), which is internally represented by a 64-bit IEEE float (erm, ok)
unless you're doing bitwise operations, in which case it's:
- violently coerced to a 32-bit signed integer in JS <= 1.1 (NaN if out of
- silently coerced to a 32-bit signed integer in JS > 1.1 (truncated
fractional and high bits)
What have we done to deserve this?
(Disclaimer: I haven't been bitten by this design decision of doom, because I
to even bother, given the risks apparent).
I said that comments on Reader really suck in my last post, and I want to
Google Reader has changed my life (this is no big statement; lots of things
change my life; including whichever bastard on one of the many overcrowded trains
I catch coughed on me and gave me this cold; keeping me home from work and thus
with too much time to blog inanities, like this one).
Reader started out as a feed aggregator. Technologically, this means checking
the timestamps of a predetermined list of remote files, and downloading any that
have changed. The point of which was to keep up-to-date with news (real news,
from newspapers; tech news, from procrastination web sites; or friends' news,
When Reader was released, there were hundreds of desktop applications that did
exactly the same thing -- Reader's advantage was that it followed you between
desktops, being online.
But it's so much more now.
Reader is how I keep in contact with friends. People of my generation don't
actually want to talk to their friends, or even SMS or email them. That kind of
contact is far too personal and touchy. All we need is some way of indicating
that we thought about each other, if only for a moment. This can be achieved on
Facebook with a nudge, on MySpace with a chain letter, on Twitter with a
140-character brain broadcast, and on Reader by sharing something. To each their
own (or, in the case of some people I know, all of them).
When you share an article on Reader, you're telling them, "Hey, I saw this
and think you should read it." Which is how most conversations go anyway.
Except for Austin, who mostly shares pictures of animals, but mostly talks about
Originally you could only share articles from feeds; typically ones you'd
subscribed to. But some time recently Google added the ability to share any URL
with a single click. This has changed my friend's sharing habits from keeping
each other up-to-date on the few blogs that we don't subscribe to in common, to
keeping each other up-to-date with what we're doing all day. For example, based
on Sofie's shares from yesterday, I can surmise that she was passing the time by
reading about penises and Star Trek cakes. This tells me much more about Sofie
than I could ever have learned by actually talking to her.
And then there's commenting. In response to a friend's share, you can write
something back. Usually "hahaha", with the number of "ha"'s
being proportional to the amount of enjoyment you received. This comment is then
viewable by any other friend looking at that shared item.
Occasionally one of us tries to start some discourse via the comments. Say, if
you didn't agree with the shared article, you might comment, "lolz no way
ps3 is teh better than poniez". But this is where it all breaks down,
because anyone who's already read that item will not see your comment, unless
they specifically go looking for it. There isn't even a flag or a number to
indicate that articles you've read have since been commented on.
At the moment Reader is like a party where everyone is telling jokes, and
everyone is hearing the jokes, but no-one can hear all the laughter, which is
isolated. If comments were integrated into the main view -- say, given
first-class status as another article, then we'd be able to continue the
discussion past a single retort, and have a real argument. It makes me think of
Slashdot, except that the posting of articles and comments would be restricted to
just the people on your friends list. It's what I want!
(Side note: apparently whatever spell-check dictionary I have loaded on my Mac
at the moment understands "MySpace" but not "Facebook" or
"Google". Figure that one out!)
Device removal on Windows
In response to:
which Sofie shared from a Digg post. I'd reply with a Reader comment, but they
Raymond Chen (MS genius) writes that users inadvertently get presented with the
"advanced" device removal menu when right-clicking on the device
removal notification icon, when all they should've done is left-click, which
brings up the simpler menu. The simple menu presents one menu item for each
device, alongside the drive letter, making it relatively easy to find the usb
stick you're trying to remove. The advanced menu shows a device/bus tree that
makes it near-impossible to find the device you're after.
What's amazing is that first Raymond, then all the commentators, blame the user
for choosing the wrong menu ("oh, silly me, I didn't realise there was a
left-click menu"). No-one points out that nowhere else in Windows does a
left-click activate a menu. (There is also a half-second delay in bringing up
the simple menu, compared to the advanced menu, causing many to try both and end
up with just the advanced one after the simple one doesn't appear to do
Secondly, no-one points out that the "advanced" menu is pointless. It
has no more functionality than the simple menu, because you are still removing
the same devices, they're just listed in a different format (one that is
Finally, the whole interface is completely insane. Internal hard drives are
listed alongside USB sticks, it asks for confirmation before ejecting the disk
(something which is easily undoable and has no consequence), and everything in
the menu is a "Mass Storage Device".
But the real kicker -- why doesn't Windows flush data to USB devices as soon as
there's an idle IO period (say, after 1 second); and show a warning icon only
when the device is in use? That way, it's always safe to remove the device,
except for the few seconds (at most) after writing to it, which would be
indicated by a red warning symbol or some such, telling you to hold off for a
Hell, they could've put that light on the stick itself. "Don't pull the
stick out while the light is on". Sounds like floppy disk technology.
I had some free time because my thumbs were sore from playing Wipeout HD, so I
wrote another vector/matrix module for Python.
This one has a better design than euclid
* The API is almost identical to the GLSL API, supporting all the same vector
and matrix types and functions (but not the scalar or component-wise functions).
* There are no methods on vectors or matrices, so we don't get confused by
writing imperative code and thinking it's functional, or vice-versa.
* There's a big test suite.
Because of the arrangement of matrix data (as a list of column vectors), it's
probably less efficient in both time and space than euclid. On the other hand,
it's more likely to give the right answer, and doesn't have the Point/Vector
distinction^H^H^H^H^H^Hconfusion that euclid does.
I wrote a small templating engine to generate the code. I think it's quite
neat. It needs no explanation; just run the makefile and look at the generated
files, you'll see how it works.